2013 (and 2014) Tax Brackets: What Is My Tax Bracket?

Tax Brackets Uncle Sam Piggy Bank

What’s your tax bracket?

It’s that time of year again when our minds start turning towards what taxes we will owe come April 15th.  One of the critical pieces of the tax code are the federal income tax brackets. These were created to facilitate the taxing of different levels of income.

Our progressive tax rate structure (i.e. as income increases, taxes increase) requires that we define the starting and stopping points for the application of different rates.

The first federal income tax brackets came into affect in the United States back in 1913, when the income tax became a permanent fixture in our government. The initial tax brackets, although very simple and low, were not unlike our current set of tax brackets. The initial rates ranged from 1%-7% and were applied to incomes from 0$ to $500,000 plus. It wasn’t until the 1940s until we saw the first unique tax bracket created for single filers and those married filing separately.

Over the years the federal income tax brackets have grown to as many as 50 different brackets, based on income. And rates on top earners grew to a massive 94% on incomes above $200,000. Thankfully, in the late 80s much was done to simplify the tax bracket structure. Since then, we’ve settled in on anywhere from 5 to 7 rates across various incomes. It should be noted that the income is based on taxable income (this number on line 43 of the Form 1040) and the income ranges vary from year to year based on inflation.

If you are currently doing your tax planning for the tax year 2014, you should look at the tax brackets below to help you in your calculations. With a little bit of planning, you might be able to reduce your tax burden in the current year or defer it to the next, depending on what your desires are.

2014 Federal Income Tax Brackets

Tax RateMarried Filing JointlyMost Single Filers
10%$0-$18,150$0-$9,075
15%$18,151-$73,800$9,076-$36,900
25%$73,801-$148,850$36,901-$89,350
28%$148,851-$226,850$89,351-$186,350
33%$226,851-$405,100$186,351-$405,100
35%$405,101-$457,600$405,101-$406,750
39.6%$457,601+$406,751+

2013 Federal Income Tax Brackets

Tax RateMarried Filing JointlyMost Single Filers
10%$0-$17,850$0-$8,925
15%$17,851-$72,500$8,926-$36,250
25%$72,501-$146,400$36,251-$87,850
28%$146,401-$223,050$87,851-$183,250
33%$223,051-$398,350$183,251-$398,350
35%$398,351-$450,000$398,350-$400,000
39.6%$450,000+$400,000+

2012 Federal Income Tax Brackets

Tax RateMarried Filing JointlyMost Single Filers
10%$0-$17,400$0-$8,700
15%$17,401-$70,700$8,701-$35,350
25%$70,701-$142,700$35,351-$85,650
28%$142,701-$217,450$85,651-$178,650
33%$217,451-$388,350$178,651-$388,350
35%$388,351+$388,351+

2011 Federal Income Tax Brackets

Tax RateMarried Filing JointlyMost Single Filers
10%$0-$17,000$0-$8,500
15%$17,000-$69,000$8,500-$34,500
25%$69,000-$139,350$34,500-$83,600
28%$139,350-$212,300$83,600-$174,400
33%$212,300-$379,150$174,400-$379,050
35%$379,150+$379,050+

2010 Federal Income Tax Brackets

Tax RateMarried Filing JointlyMost Single Filers
10%$0-$16,750$0-$8,375
15%$16,750-$68,000$8,375-$34,000
25%$68,000-$137,300$34,000-$82,400
28%$137,300-$209,250$82,400-$171,850
33%$209,250-$373,650$171,850-$373,650
35%$373,650+$373,650+

You may be wondering “what is my tax bracket?” That’s a great question to ask because it shows you are curious about how much of your earnings are going to the U.S. Government to pay for the protection and services that they provide. I think we tax payers sometimes fall asleep at the tax-paying wheel and don’t pay attention to our taxes paid because they are taken out of our paychecks without much fuss. Knowing your tax bracket will help you to make educated decisions about money moves that will affect the taxes you pay at the end of the year.

Your federal income tax bracket is the rate at which your highest level of income is taxed. This rate is called your marginal tax rate. Keep in mind that your marginal rate doesn’t mean that you pay that exact percentage across all of your income. It just means that you are paying that amount on your highest level of income. Therefore, if you are in the 28% tax bracket, you don’t pay 28% of your income in taxes. You just pay 28% on everything over $82,400.

Another personal rate you might want to know is your effective tax rate. You calculate this by dividing your total tax by your taxable income. Pull out last years return and see what you get. Someone in the 28% federal income tax bracket could have an effective tax rate as low as 17%. Now that you know a bit of tax bracket history, the rates for this year, and some helpful calculations, you can begin planning for that big tax payment or refund next year.

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Last Edited: February 17, 2014 @ 4:19 pm
About Philip Taylor

Philip Taylor, aka "PT", is a husband and father of two. He created PT Money back in 2007 to share his thoughts on money and to meet others passionate about managing their finances. All the content on this blog is original, and created or edited by PT. Read more about Philip Taylor, and be sure to connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, or view the Philip Taylor+ Google profile.